Bruce Dickey was a trumpeter by training, but a contact with the recorder while still a student sparked an interest in early music which he pursued while earning a degree in musicology at the Indiana University School of Music. A year of recorder studies at the renowned Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel (Switzerland) turned into a permanent job as teacher of cornetto at the same institution.
Many years of performing and recording with the leading figures in the field of early music (Jordi Savall, Andrew Parrott, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopman, Monica Huggett, Philippe Herreweghe, and others) provided the background for what has become his principal activity, the ensemble Concerto Palatino.
In addition to performing, Bruce Dickey is much in demand as a teacher, both of the cornetto and of seventeenth-century performance practice. In addition to his regular class at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, he has taught at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and the Early Music Institute at Indiana University as well as master classes in the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan. He is also active in research on performance practice, and has published, together with Michael Collver, a catalog of the surviving cornetto repertoire. In 2000 the Historic Brass Society bestowed on him the prestigious Christopher Monk Award for "his monumental work in cornetto performance, historical performance practice and musicological scholarship".
In 1981, Bruce Dickey moved to Italy, partly to be closer to the origins and source materials for his instrument and its music. He currently lives in Bologna, home of the original Concerto Palatino and of the best pasta in the world.